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Old 06-19-2008, 07:57 PM
 
5,952 posts, read 14,315,155 times
Reputation: 6644

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Hello all... I've read this forum and found good information, but not direct answers to my questions, so I am posting some here, please excuse any redundancy. Also, for those who read the LA forum, I will be posting this exact post.

I have an opportunity to be relocated with my company to LA from Houston. My wife also has an opportunity for employment with the same company.

Our combined income will be 200K sans bonuses, about 230-250K with bonuses. We currently live in a 3K sq. ft. single story home with a large lot that we paid 159K six years ago. Unfortunately, our real estate does not appreciate as quickly as it does in CA, but we can sell for ~200K, even in today's housing market and pocket over 100K.

No debts. We have three kids, aged 5 and under, the oldest starts Kindergarten this year.

My company is located in the Westwood, UCLA Medical Center area.

Now the questions, I don't know where to start, or what to ask, so I'll just throw some out....

Where do most people live who work in this area? I know I will have to commute to afford a home in the area. We don't have state taxes, or high real estate costs here in Houston, so I know I can't live in the area where my company is without spending a fortune.

I know this is a hard question to answer, but what are good options for me and my family in regards to owning a home in a nice, safe neighborhood?

How much home can we afford on 200K and still live within our means, and save money?

With regards to homes, what area would be good to have a nice home (knowing I can't get what I can in Texas for the same price), with good schools, and be safe?

What area would be best to keep commute times to a minimum (wife and I can carpool).

I don't think that what I see on TV actually represents LA; I've been there, in certain areas it looks like Mexico to me. Spanish is not a problem, I speak it fluently, and my wife is from Spain, and our children are bi-lingual (although they speak the Castillan version of Spanish). But I know there are nice areas around LA too, I just don't know where they are.

I could ask fellow employees, however, I must keep this to myself for now and cannot mention this potential move just yet.

If I think of more I'll post again, but thank you in advance for any advice.

Regards
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:24 PM
 
Location: Mission Viejo, CA
2,498 posts, read 10,974,655 times
Reputation: 1613
Orange County is going to be way way way way to far away from UCLA Medical Center in most (if not all) cases. From even the northern most portions of orange county like La Palma, it is about 40 minutes to the UCLA area. That is in NO traffic which is rare. Now I know you said you will be using carpool lanes, so that might save you time, but still plan on at least 40 minutes and all the way up to awful numbers like an hour and a half if you are in traffic.

I would look for advice from the LA forum, because LA County cities are going to be much closer to work.
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:48 PM
 
Location: Sputnik Planitia
7,475 posts, read 10,598,921 times
Reputation: 8420
Disclaimer:These are only my own opinions

Quote:
Originally Posted by HookTheBrotherUp View Post
Where do most people live who work in this area? I know I will have to commute to afford a home in the area. We don't have state taxes, or high real estate costs here in Houston, so I know I can't live in the area where my company is without spending a fortune.
Unfortunately Westwood is near some frighteningly expensive neighborhoods.
Try El Segundo, it has a problem with airport noise but is cheaper than the other beach cities. Culver City, some parts are not so bad. If you don't mind commuting about 45 minutes then Sherman Oaks is a good bet, I lived there for 4 years and I can tell you that it's a very nice area and you can take the 405S directly to UCLA.

Good neighborhoods closer to UCLA are Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Marina Del Rey, forget it, just too expensive.

Quote:
I know this is a hard question to answer, but what are good options for me and my family in regards to owning a home in a nice, safe neighborhood?
If I had to choose, Sherman Oaks, Studio city, Burbank, Glendale would be some of my choices.

Quote:
How much home can we afford on 200K and still live within our means, and save money?
Well, credit standards are a LOT more tougher now so it's hard to qualify. With 100k down and 200k income, no debts I would say $600k home tops. Maybe less but that is an optimistic guess.

Quote:
With regards to homes, what area would be good to have a nice home (knowing I can't get what I can in Texas for the same price), with good schools, and be safe?
I'm not familiar with the school system as I have no kids. You have to be careful with this as it's more common for the school systems here in LA to be horrible than good.

Quote:
What area would be best to keep commute times to a minimum (wife and I can carpool).
As I said expect a 45 minute minimum commute time. Freeways are jam packed during rush hours and there is no public transport to speak of.

Quote:
I don't think that what I see on TV actually represents LA; I've been there, in certain areas it looks like Mexico to me. Spanish is not a problem, I speak it fluently, and my wife is from Spain, and our children are bi-lingual (although they speak the Castillan version of Spanish). But I know there are nice areas around LA too, I just don't know where they are.
LA is a mix. You're right, the worst areas resemble Tijuana. The best areas are the most exclusive in the world. And then there is everything in between. Realize that LA has a metropolitan radius of almost 100 miles. That is HUGE! Some nice areas are Encino (Valley area), Beach Cities (Redondo, Manhattan beach, El Segundo, Malibu etc.), Beverly Hills, Pacific Palisades, Rancho Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills (South Coastal), parts of San Gabriel Valley like Pasadena and San Marino, most of South Orange County (Irvine, Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Dana Pt. etc.) is consistently very nice.

Expect to pay $700,000 to live in a decent house (2000 sqft) in a decent neighborhood. You're going to pay $1 million+ for the equivalent of your 3000 sqft Texas house in a great neighborhood.

Welcome to LA
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